Dispute continues on truth and legacy issues

The North of Ireland is “not yet ready” for a truth commission to hear from the victims and families of victims of the conflict, according to the unionist-dominated ‘Northern Ireland Committee’ of the Westminster parliament in London.

The legacy commission proposal, along with a 12,000 pound ‘recognition’ payment to all victims and a ban on public inquiries were the central recommendations of the British-appointed ‘consultative panel on the past’, led by Robin Eames and Denis Bradley.

However, the British and unionist MPs cast doubt on the proposal, saying they believed that the North “had not yet reached a consensus on how to move on from its recent past”, though they accepted that the time for such a body may come in the future.

“It is not clear that Northern Ireland needs a legacy commission when bodies such as the Victims and Survivors Commission and the (PSNI) Historical Enquiries Team are already dealing in different ways with aspects of the legacy of the Troubles,” the MPs’ report says.

MPs have also raised some questions about the Eames/Bradley recommendation that the commission should last for five years and be chaired by an international figure alongside two others.

“A commission would need at least five years to do its work, but should be time-limited to prevent its running indefinitely,” the MPs’ report says, but the body should be “chaired, or co-chaired, by figures from Northern Ireland rather than by a foreign figurehead”.

Meanwhile, a report has found that a two-thirds majority in the Six Counties believes it is important to deal successfully with the legacy of the conflict.

Research commissioned by the Commission for Victims and Survivors points to strong public support for measures designed to achieve “closure” on the conflict so that the communities in the north can “move on”.

Meanwhile, it was announced this (Thursday) afternoon that more than 5,000 troubles victims and their families will receive extra money during the Christmas period,.

DUP leader Peter Robinson and Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness said 1.8 million pounds, or about two million euro, would be available.

Mr McGuinness said: “This funding will help many of the most vulnerable individuals in our society and their families in a practical way.

“This demonstrates our commitment to making life better for victims and survivors.”

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